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The Independent Culture
The best of the mail-order catalogues for stress-free Christmas shopping. Ancient Art

Is this pulling a fast one? It says it stocks dinosaur eggs from 75- 86 million years ago, but assures us they are, like everything else, authentic (pounds 325 each). Buy its musty-chic ancient Egyptian mummies, Jurassic ammonites, fragments of Hieratic writing, Ming dynasty figurines and Roman medical instruments (from pounds 65) and you'll turn your home into a mini British Museum.

Cool thing: Mosaic floor made of 2nd-century tesserae (from pounds 1,900). Wow!

Naff thing: Eocene-era shark's tooth.

Order line: 0181-882 1509 (pounds 3 p&p for items under pounds 100)

The Cross

It's summer all year in this catalogue, shot in idyllic Greece. A cross between girlie fashion (beaded cardies, etc) and home accessories in sugared-almond shades erring on the saccharine. Bougainvillaea-pink notebooks, fish in a soap, pictured, pale lime Chinese lanterns (pounds 30), lavender vases, bath rose petals and heart-shaped lavender sachets.

Cool thing: Dosa leather pouffe (pounds 329).

Naff thing: Organdie mosquito net in sickly sorbet pink.

Orderline: 0171-221 8616. Or visit www.the (pounds 4 p&p; packages over 800g cost more)